WPI Inflation Rises to 3.18% in March, Cred in Talks to Raise $100m, Hotstar Crosses 300m Users, Amazon Plans to Launch Free Ad-Supported Music Streaming Service et al

WPI inflation rises to 3.18% in March. Cred in talks to raise $100m. UPI platforms outperform e-wallets in FY19. Hotstar crosses 300m users. Netflix announces 10 new original films to expand its India-specific content. Amazon plans to launch free ad-supported music streaming service. CureFit to raise $75m as part of Series D funding round. 

 

Moving on to the top Business stories of the day. 

 

JET 

Jet pilots plead SBI to release INR1,500cr which was to be infused in the carrier as part of a debt-restructuring plan. Management and lenders to meet today to take a call on fund infusion. London and US-based companies back Naresh Goyal’s bid for Jet. 
 

Final Straw: Jet Airways pilots body, the National Aviator's Guild, appealed to the SBI to release INR1,500cr, which was proposed to be infused in the ailing carrier as part of a debt-restructuring plan last month.

 
Reality Check: The debt-ridden airline is currently operating only 6-7 aircraft. 
 

The management and lenders of Jet are expected to meet today to decide on the amount of funds to be infused immediately to avert a possible shut down of the airline.
 

As per reports, Jet’s lenders, led by the SBI, are considering a proposal to infuse INR10bn to keep the airline afloat once Jet submits a plan on how it intends to use the money.
 

We Have Your Back: Future Trend Capital, a Delaware-based entity, is reportedly backing the offer by Naresh Goyal’s Jetair to invest in Jet Airways.
 

FYI: Jetair is the general sales agency (GSA) which gave birth to Jet Airways.

As per some sources Adi Partners, a London-based firm, is also associated with the consortium of Jetair and Future Trend.

 

ECONOMY 

WPI inflation rises to 3.18% in March.
 

On A Rise: India's annual rate of inflation based on wholesale prices rose to 3.18% in March, its highest in three months vs 2.93% in February and 2.74% last year.
 

Clear the Air: The World Bank and Asian Development Bank recently slashed India’s GDP growth forecast to 7.2%, while the IMF predicted GDP growth at 7.3%. While these figures are higher than projections for all other major economies, India must make substantial efforts to correct the air around faulty data which has recently come under global scrutiny.
 

Prompt Action: According to a communique by the International Monetary and Financial Committee, while global growth is projected to firm up in 2020, “risks remain tilted to the downside,”. Within this backdrop, Finance Ministers and Central Bankers across the globe are prepared to “act promptly” to shore up growth in a world economy that faces downside risks including trade tensions. More on the matter here.

 

PAYMENTS 

Cred in talks to raise $100m. UPI platforms outperform e-wallets in FY19.
 

Pouring In: Financial technology platform Cred is in talks with China’s Hillhouse Capital and some of its existing investors including Sequoia Capital to raise $100m.
 

The deal, if it goes through, will likely value the six-month-old platform at $400m, a substantial raise from $75m when it first raised capital last year.
 

Frontrunner: Existing shareholder Sequoia Capital is expected to lead the funding round, with Yuri Milner-backed Apoletto Asia and Ribbit Capital also doubling down. 
 

Shifting Loyalties: As per an analysis by The Hindu, an increasing number of people chose bank-to-bank methods such as the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) over other instruments such as e-wallets in FY19. 
 

Payments made on the UPI platform saw a significant growth of over 400% in the April 2018 to March 2019 period, from a little more than INR27,000cr in April 2018 to INR1.35L cr in March 2019.
 

Read more on why the platform is gaining such spectacular traction, so much so that it is eating away at e-wallets’ market share in specific areas such as person-to-merchant transactions.

 

CONTENT 

Hotstar crosses 300m users. Netflix announces 10 new original films to expand its India-specific content. Amazon plans to launch free ad-supported music streaming service.

By Leaps and Bounds: Accounting for over 40% of all long-form digital content consumed in India presently, Disney-owned Hotstar has crossed 300 million monthly active users (MAUs) within four years since its inception - a 4x growth since 2017-end when the platform had about 75 million MAUs.

Custom Made for India: Netflix has partnered with top filmmakers and producers like Ronnie Screwvala’s RSVP, Shah Rukh Khan's Red Chillies Entertainment, Karan Johar's digital content arm Dharmatic, Siddharth Roy Kapur's Roy Kapur Films et al to release 10 new original films by the end of 2020.

Game On: Amazon is reportedly in talks with major music labels to provide ad-supported music streaming service that would offer a limited catalog of songs to take on rivals such as Spotify and Apple Music. 

The service would be made available through its Alexa voice assistant on the company's Echo line of devices.

 

STARTUPS 

CureFit to raise $75m as part of Series D funding round. 
 

Pump It Up: Health and fitness startup Cure Fit Healthcare is close to raising $75m in a funding round led by existing investors Accel Growth and Chiratae Ventures, which would value the startup at $500m. 
 

This financing could be part of a larger Series D round of $125m-$150m expected to be raised later this year.
 

The development comes three days after the startup announced that it has acquired cold-pressed juice brand Rejoov. CureFit’s other acquisitions in the past include boutique fitness brands Cult and The Tribe, yoga chain a1000yoga as well as Bengaluru-based Kristys Kitchen.
 

Expanding Boundaries: The company also plans to launch health clinics and expand overseas, besides entering another 10 Indian cities with its food and fitness centres. 
 


Bonus: A Bengaluru company has now developed AI algorithms and analytics tools to monitor factory floor operations and diagnose the health of industrial machines merely by the sounds they make. The data points derived from the sounds help generate factory-level visualisations and diagnostics on the entire operations. Read more on Asquared IoT here.

 

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